Debate: Will more charities now use texts to make donations faster and easier?

Three experts give their views

iPhone 4
iPhone 4

HELEN TRIDGELL, director of external affairs at the Disabilities Trust

It's a positive sign that major mobile phone providers such as Vodafone and O2 are giving 100 per cent of text donations to charity. For larger charities it's great news, particularly if an immediate response is needed, such as disaster relief.

At the Disabilities Trust, it has encouraged us to look again at raising money in this way. But it is not so good for smaller charities because setting up the necessary systems can be costly and time-consuming.

Nevertheless, I think text donations are the way forward. It makes giving to charity simple and fast, which is what people want. It is also a great way to connect with younger donors.

We would definitely consider using text message donations on targeted campaigns as a trial in the future.

 

GILL ARUKPE, chief executive of Penrose Housing Association, London

I can see why text donations are attractive to some organisations - it's a fast and easy approach. Ask for a donation, show a film on the issue concerned and, before they know it, donors have pressed send and off the payment goes.

But sometimes people get caught up in the moment and send a donation even if they cannot afford it. Will there be an opportunity for them to change their minds?

Text donations can benefit large charities with multimillion-pound campaigns, but I can't see how smaller charities would get a beneficial return, given the cost of setting it up.

I am also concerned that it's a very sterile method and does not necessarily provide individual donors with a real sense of how their money will be used.

 

ALAN BOOTH, director of communications at Catch22, the young people's charity

As mobile phone ownership and the range of available platforms grows, text messaging becomes an increasingly important way for charities to communicate.

More and more people seem happy to give a mobile phone number yet are reluctant to provide an address, making door-to-door and direct mail mechanisms less effective. And if you can't get in front of people, you won't get their support.

Text messaging can capture support quickly and secure commitment, even at a low level, which can then be built upon.

Many people were made aware of the Haiti disaster, for example, through broadcast and other media, but chose to support the appeal via text donations. Some will build relationships with organisations involved in that appeal.

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